Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pan de Sal

What could be so difficult about mixing flour, water and a bit of yeast together? OK, there are more than three ingredients in making Pan de Sal but my point is there is nothing extraordinary about what goes into making it. It is not like you need to swim to the bottom of the ocean to get this unique ingredient that would make the perfect pan de sal. Or maybe you do?!?!?! That is why my pan de sal is never like bakery bought!

basic dough

Everything you need you could probably find in most people’s pantry. But for some peculiar reason the pan de sal, in the style of typical Pinoy bakery, I have found very difficult to copy. I’ve tried all sorts of recipes. I’ve searched books. I Googled for recipes! But NOTHING! I still get the same result!

Is it in the flour? Should I get the same brand as the bakers? I’ve read somewhere that to make bread it is best to use a “strong bakers flour”? What is it? How is it different from ordinary flour? In what sense is it “strong?

Is it the yeast? Which is better? Dry? Wet? What?

Is it the oven I’m using? Does it have to be brick one fuelled by wood? Is fan forced not good enough? Should I not use the fan force option?

What kind of shortening? Is sunflower oil not good? Should I be using lard?

ready for baking

Teka, when you really think about making pan de sal it is not that simple. There are so many factors that could make or break the deal!

What, in my opinion, then is the perfect pan de sal? Well, since you asked, the perfect pan de sal for me is very much like the pan de sal of my childhood.

Since the Pinoy of late have been complaining about the size of the pan de sal today I can therefore safely assume that size wise it has to be bigger than what is currently in the market.

Although the sal in the name of this bread is referring to salt my perfect pan de sal is more on the sweet side. Some pan de sal purist might be horrified at this but I don’t care!

Texture wise it has to be more stretchy than spongy. The frozen pan de sal sold in most Pinoy stores in Australia are more sponge cake like. This is not what I want. This kind of consistency Is what the pan de sal I make are mostly like. Parang mamon ang texture!

here's one I prepared earlier

The photos show my failed attempt to copy. They were all pretty good, don’t get me wrong. They also look like the real deal. Pero in the end, iba pa rin.

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